All things must come to an end, and by most standards, the end of Club Penguin was nearly perfect
For twenty-somethings wondering where their brother, sister, or significant other was last night, a good bet was sitting in front of their computer — playing out the last hours of a game that, for many millennials, acted as an introduction to the internet.
If anyone has friends or loved ones that are anywhere between 18-22 years old, there is a decent chance a member of their peer group still plays the game.
It has a similar nostalgic hold on younger millennials that, for example, Pokémon has on older millennials.
But, more important, by its nature, it introduced many people who were kids around 2005-2011 to the internet. Those approaching thirty-years-old often point to blogs, chatboards, MSN Messenger, Myspace and Friendster as the places they learned to socialise online. For people a bit younger, Club Penguin fills a similar role.
These kids are now the same people e27 profiles as the next up-and-coming entrepreneurs, the future of the internet economy.
(To sidetrack for a second, Club Penguin is also a beautiful microcosm of the internet as a whole. It has a lot of people using it for fun, but the game is also filled with trolls. There is a large community of players in Club Penguin who are only there to get themselves kicked out and then document their stories on Reddit.)
Launched in 2005, it was bought by Disney in 2007 and eventually grew to 200 million users. That’s 200 million penguins, millions of Puffles, and an uncountable number snowball fights.
The game was defined by the (likely) impossible attempts to ‘tip the iceberg’ — a somewhat hilarious attempt at collaboration in a mass multi-player game (MMG) with thousands of people online at one time.
The developers even understood the unfortunate reality that a class system cannot be removed from any society — even a digital internet world inhabited by penguins. Those of the Elite Penguin Force ruled over us underlings, albeit, in aggregate we can call our fair leaders benevolent authorities.
Players learned about love and loss when they were lucky enough to be bestowed gifts by friendly pirate Rockhopper. But those gifts were tinged with sadness by the knowledge that he would eventually leave — and there was no guarantee to see him next time he came bearing gifts.
Work ethic was taught by pizza delivery penguins and explorers could sharpen their skills by climbing the mountains or visiting the Dojo (not to mention the deep sea!).
Maybe it had to happen. Those of us who grew up on Club Penguin are now adults and ready to take their rightful place in society.
Like a young love who must move on, it is time to say goodbye to the lover, grow into the people we are meant to be and find that ‘forever’ in our lives.
But, that doesn’t make that first love less beautiful, or the break-up less heartbreaking.
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Like all things, Club Penguin has come to an end, and as the iceberg floats off to sea, and the lighthouse turns off, let’s not be sad that it’s gone, but rather be happy that it ever happened.
(That was a final sentence so perfectly cheesy as to fit the glory that was Club Penguin.)
Featured Image Copyright: pittpk / 123RF Stock Photo
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